By Mark V. Wiley
Many of us have spent the long, cold winter inside. And when we workout, it’s usually indoors as well—at home (by using the best treadmill for sprinting) or in the gym. Thankfully, it’s finally warm and sunny out. That means now is the time to get outside and make exercising fun.
Believe it or not, the playground is a great place to exercise. It has everything you need and just as many options as your gym. But it makes for a much more interesting and fun workout. Your imagination is your only limitation.
Plus, if you feel you don’t have time to exercise because you look after children, then take them to the playground and let them play on the swings while you “play” at fitness on everything else.
In today’s video article my good friend, fitness coach Kevin Kearns, shows you how to get out of the office and the gym and get a great workout at your local playground, using only what’s already there. Pull ups, wall hops, picnic table jumps, monkey bar swings and fun! This is a small preview from his new comprehensive Improvised Playground Workout video series from Tambuli Media.
Pull ups – Standard and Side-to-Side
Pull-up handles are everywhere at playgrounds. In our video playground there is a set of them; in others they can be a pull-up bar or monkey bar that you use, or even the cross-bar of a swing set. Pull-ups are great for your upper body, great for strength training and you’re out in the sun.
Monkey Bar Swings
Monkey bars are great fun to swing on. My daughter is in fourth grade and can swing past two at a time, back and forth. For adults, it’s far more difficult! Simply start at the beginning, grab onto one bar and swing the other arm over to the next bar. It’s quite a workout for the upper body, shoulders and lats, and it’s a fantastic stretch, too. If the bars are too low, be sure to bend your knees to lift your feet off the ground. See if you can make it across and back. Harder than you remember, or think!
Simply find a low wall, fence, table or can about thigh height or lower and stand next to it. Put your hands down and spring over to the other side. Hand down and spring over, land and push your hands down and spring over, land and repeat for either a time limit or repetition count that you can manage. This is great for core control and upper body strength, and there is no potential knee strain because you are landing on dirt and not pavement. It’s explosive and fun at the same time!
Picnic Table Jumps
This is a great plyometric or dynamic and explosive jumping exercise. Fist make sure the bench is sturdy and secure. Start from a firm standing position with feet apart and jump up onto the bench of the picnic table, or any park bench for that matter. Be sure to step back down as opposed to hopping down, to save strain on your knees. Do as many as you can do safely, rest and repeat three times. If this is too simple, try jumping up onto the table itself!
Don’t Miss Out on The Full Series
In this intensive video series, Coach Kevin Kearns shows you 30 amazing exercises you can improvise on the playground. Steps, benches, picnic tables, monkey bars, swings and other common playground items are, in the hands of a fitness buff, equipment for an intensive cardio and strength training workout.
Video 1 – 16 amazing exercises including: one-legged squats, pull-ups, step-ups, explosive step-ups, Explosive pull-ups, monkey bar swings, inverted rows, dynamic planks on a swing, fence hops, knuckle push-ups, elevated push-ups, stepping drills, quadrant pattern explosive movements, bench dips, and more!
Video 2 – After an intensive tire swing rotation exercise, Coach Kearns goes into an Awesome 24 minute “Chaos Interval Training” method using 6 different pieces of equipment, twice each, with all different exercises, including: medicine ball twists, mini-trampoline hops, single lunges, rowing with bands, Bosu exercises, sledgehammer exercises, inverted rows, super band lunges and presses, dead lifting on a mini-trampoline, and so much more!
These playground exercises are truly state-of-the-art in that they address all 5 areas of functional fitness: Push, Pull, Level Change, Rotation and Locomotion. They are effective, Efficient and Safe and will give you a full body workout outside and having fun. With these 30 exercises and the intensive “chaos workout” you will never be at a loss for what to do.